The Washington Post: AG bulks up lobbyist roster for Monsanto deal


September 21 at 1:17 PM
German drug and chemical giant Bayer AG, which last week announced plans to acquire GMO company Monsanto for $66 billion, has hired big-name lobbyists to advocate for the proposed merger, including the firms of former House Majority Leader Dick Gephardt (D-Mo.) and veteran GOP lobbyist Charlie Black.

The proposed merger is the largest so far in 2016, and is expected to receive intense scrutiny from antitrust regulators. Monsanto, based in St. Louis, is the world’s largest supplier of genetically modified seeds.

Gephardt Government Affairs, GOP-led advisory shop Cloakroom Advisors, and lobby firms Cassidy & Associates and Prime Policy Group are working either directly or indirectly for Bayer to lobby on the federal review of the acquisition, according to lobbying disclosure filings. The firms have ties to top lawmakers from Missouri. The filings do not specify fees associated with the work.

The lobbyists include Black; Gardner Peckham, former adviser to former House Speaker Newt Gingrich; Jordan Bernstein, chief of staff to former Rep. Jo An Emerson (R-Mo.); and Gregg Hartley, former chief of staff for Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.).

They did not immediately return requests seeking comment Wednesday.

Monsanto has not hired any new lobbyists since the deal was announced, according to public filings, but employs a prominent team of lobbyists, including former Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.) and the lobby giant Akin Gump. The company spent $4.3 million on lobbying in 2015, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

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Audubon Society Calls on Cloakroom – O’Dwyer’s



National Audubon Society Calls on Cloakroom

Thu., May 5, 2016

The National Audubon Society has retained Interpublic government relations firm Cloakroom Advisors LLC for environmental lobbying help in Washington.

National Audubon SocietyThe environmental and conservation non-profit is specifically seeking Cloakroom’s support on issues related to federal bird habitats.

In an April Q&A featured in Audubon magazine, Audubon president and CEO David Yarnold outlined a five-year strategy for the conservation network to positively impact the future of birds, which includes an initiative that calls on Americans to plant native plants that provide healthy ecosystems for bird species. The organization plans to launch an online guide later this year to help people find native plants enjoyed by birds that populate the areas in which they live.

Handling the Audubon account is Cloakroom principal Gregg Hartley, who was formerly chief of staff to Rep. Roy Blunt (R-MO), now Missouri’s junior Senator. Hartley, who founded Cloakroom in 2014, is a former vice chairman and chief operating officer of lobbying firm Cassidy & Associates.

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Meet the Foxes: The Leicester City-inspired American couple – Sports Illustrated


By Grant Wahl

Tue Mar. 1, 2016

Photo: Rui Vieira/AP

Photo: Rui Vieira/AP

Meet the Foxes: The Leicester City-inspired American couple

LEICESTER, England — The best story in world sports right now is Leicester City, the club that has not only defied predictions of relegation but is somehow scoffing at 5,000-to-1 odds and leading the Premier League by two points with 11 games left in a miraculous season.

After Leicester’s 1-0 win over Norwich City here on Saturday, in which Leonardo Ulloa scored the game-winner in the 89th minute, I stumbled onto a great little story-within-the-story in the bar of the Holiday Inn Express, which is literally right next to King Power Stadium.

Savoring the win there were Rocky Fox and Kat Morgan, an American couple who had more than one reason to celebrate. Why had two Americans traveled more than 3,000 miles to the middle of England? Well, let Fox tell you:

“The English Premier League is just catching on in America like wildfire,” said Fox, a government-relations specialist who lives in Washington D.C. “I think that’s pretty clear. It starts right before NFL games. Kickoff is at 10 a.m. [ET], they finish at noon and you can flip on an NFL game. So I’ve been watching it for probably three or four years.”

Last season, Fox decided it was finally time to pick a team, and one day on his TV screen was newly promoted Leicester City, known as the Foxes. “We’re watching a game, and it’s the Foxes,” he explained. “My last name is Fox, so who better to support than the Foxes? Guilt by association, so she’s onboard too. They always say you don’t really choose your team, your team chooses you. It’s like: The Foxes! Got it! We’re in!”

They started watching every Leicester City game, but a year ago at this time the Foxes were deep in the relegation zone. As Fox recalls, “I was like, ‘Great, I picked this team, and they’re going to be relegated, and now I’ll have to find [the second-tier] Championship on TV.’”

But then a series of remarkable things happened. Leicester, which was playing in the third-tier league of English soccer just seven seasons ago, went on a stunning run to finish 14th and stay in the Premier League—the greatest escape in the league’s history.

Then this season, despite 5,000-to-1 odds to win the league—the same odds for discovering Elvis Presley alive—Leicester is top of the league by two points heading into Tuesday’s game against West Brom (NBCSN, 2:45 p.m. ET). Fox and Morgan will be there for the second Premier League game they have ever attended.

“We actually planned this trip some time ago, well before they were in first place,” said Morgan, who’s about to finish a graduate degree in business at the University of Miami in Florida.

“We thought we were going to be here to help them stave off relegation,” Fox cracked.

Instead, it has turned into a trip they’ll never forget. Their plan was to fly separately from Washington D.C. and Miami, meet in London and drive up together to Leicester. But Fox had other ideas. “I wanted to propose at some point, and I thought: What better way to see the Foxes than if we were Foxes?


Soon after Morgan boarded her flight in Miami last week, her boyfriend walked on the plane to her surprise. He handed her a female fox stuffed animal, and then he handed her a male fox stuffed animal with an engagement ring tied around its neck on a blue string.

“Will you marry me?” he asked. “Will you be a Fox?”


After the game on Saturday, the newly engaged couple was still beaming at the Holiday Inn Express bar, where the bartender, hearing their story, had given them a bottle of Champagne on the house. Fox couldn’t believe what had happened.

“The fact that we came here, and they win in the 89th minute? As a first-place team? Out of nowhere? If you’re looking for signs that we should be the Foxes, it’s every affirmation you ever needed.”

Morgan nodded.

“Since I was a little girl, the fox has been my favorite animal,” she said. “So all around my childhood bedroom back home it was covered with fox posters.”

For his non-soccer-loving friends in the U.S., Fox has tried to come up with an American comparison to what Leicester City is doing—and it’s awfully difficult.

“The best I had was essentially Hickory High from the movie Hoosiers,” he said. “Because any professional league in America has no comparison. I mean, a year ago they were going to be down to Triple-A.”

Added Morgan: “He described it as like a minor-league team being pulled up to win the World Series …”

“… And beat the Yankees,” said Fox.


On Saturday, the U.S. couple was sitting near the hardcore Leicester fans when Ulloa scored near the death and the stadium exploded with noise, a mix of raw exhilaration and an outpouring of relief.

“The energy and electricity, I mean, it was like SEC football,” Fox marveled. “It’s Auburn-Alabama every Saturday, so it was insane. It was so awesome they scored.”

Yet the vibe in Leicester is a little different than what they were expecting. Instead of a widespread belief that Leicester will win the title and complete the greatest story in Premier League history, there’s more of a wait-and-see attitude.

“The feeling in Leicester isn’t what it would be in the States if you had a team doing this,” Morgan said. “Everybody’s watching and waiting. Nobody is expecting.”

Added Fox, “Part of the reason I think they’re going to win it is because I don’t know enough to think that they’re not. I’m American and an optimist. But why can’t they? Everyone here is like, ‘This has been really good so far.’ But I’m like, ‘What?!? We’re not done yet!’”

So many things have already come together—Leicester’s run, their attachment to the team and now their engagement—that the fairytale story might as well keep going. With apologies to Wes Anderson, you could call it: “The Fantastic Mr. and Mrs. Fox.”

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John Ariale receives The Arc’s Catalyst Award



John Ariale receives The Arc’s Catalyst Award 

Photo from left to right Catherine Beck, Marty Ford, John Ariale

Catherine Beck, Marty Ford, & John Ariale

The Arc’s Catalyst Awards — 2015 Honorees

This year during The Arc’s National Convention in Indianapolis in October, The Arc will present its inaugural Catalyst Awards. These national awards were created to recognize individuals, businesses, and other organizations that are catalysts for achievement in the lives of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD).

“The avenue to true equality for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities will not be paved by a single person or organization – but by thousands who share a vision and a passion. The Catalyst Awards gives us an opportunity to honor like-minded leaders in fields both inside and outside of our network who are trailblazing to make the future more inclusive.” 
Peter Berns, CEO, The Arc

Public Policy Victory of the Year

The Stephen Beck, Jr. Achieving a Better Life Experience Act of 2014

(Presented to recipients listed below)

The Stephen Beck, Jr. Achieving a Better Life Experience Act (ABLE) Act was signed into law on December 19, 2014 after many years of advocacy and bipartisan work in both the House and Senate. The law allows eligible individuals with disabilities the ability to establish “ABLE accounts” for qualified beneficiaries that resemble the qualified tuition programs, often called “529 accounts”, that have been established under that section of the tax code since 1996. The new ABLE accounts will allow the person with a disability more individual choice and control over spending on qualified disability expenses and limited investment decisions, while protecting eligibility for Medicaid, Supplemental Security Income, and other important federal benefits for people with disabilities. Without these accounts, many people with disabilities have very limited avenues to save and allow for further independence. The passage of this bill comes after years of advocacy by Members of Congress and leaders in the disability community. Honorees include:

Chief Sponsors of the bill:

  • Congressman Ander Crenshaw (FL-4)
  • Congressman Chris Van Hollen (MD-8)
  • Senator Richard Burr (NC)
  • Senator Bob Casey (PA)

Other Members of Congress whose work helped to ensure final passage:

  • House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (CA-23)
  • House Rules Committee Chairman Pete Sessions (TX-32)
  • House Republican Conference Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (WA-5)
  • Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin G. Hatch (UT)
  • Senate Finance Committee Ranking Member Ron Wyden (OR)

Sara Wolff – A powerful self-advocate who has long supported the passage of the ABLE Act. She has worked closely with the lead sponsors of this bill in Congress and participated in a number of national events to raise awareness and promote passage.

Stephen Beck (will be honored posthumously, his wife Catherine Beck will accept the award on his behalf) – For years, Stephen Beck was the driving force behind this bill. He dedicated nights and weekends on top of his full time job to lobby Members of Congress and work with national organizations like The Arc to support passage.

John Ariale – John Ariale is the former Chief of Staff for Chief of Representative Ander Crenshaw. He drafted and steered the ABLE Act through the 8+ year process, leading to its final passage last year.

Arc Catalyst Award Podium[2]

John Ariale receiving 2015 Arc Catalyst Award

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John Ariale joins Cloakroom Advisors – POLITICO


John Ariale joins Cloakroom Advisors from Becker & Poliakoff. Ariale focuses on foreign assistance, international relations, defense, the foreign assistance framework, global development, global health, homeland security, defense and financial services. Cloakroom’s clients in those areas include the National Down Syndrome Society, the Center for Effective Foreign Assistance and Linden Care. Ariale previously founded Ariale Strategies and was Rep. Ander Crenshaw’s chief of staff and appropriations associate.

Read more: Politico Influence


Politico Influence: New Lobbying Registrations


Gregg Hartley, the former senior staffer to Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), and William Fox of Cloakroom Advisors are subcontracting from Cassidy & Associates (where Fox used to work) to represent the Organization for Peace and Justice, a Bangladeshi human rights group. They want Congress to condemn the country’s war crime tribunal.

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Leidos, Cerner win ‘DHMSM’, DoD’s $11B electronic health record contract


Leidos, Cerner win ‘DHMSM’, DoD’s $11B electronic health record contract

Contract will replace legacy health IT at DoD and advance interoperability with VA’s health record

July 29, 2015 | By Molly Bernhart Walker

The Defense Department said July 29 that it’s awarded an up to $11 billion, 10-year contract to a team led by Leidos and Cerner to develop a new electronic health record system called the Defense Healthcare Management System Modernization initiative.

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